Tag Archives:

environment

The Best is Yet to Come

In the late 90s, I was influenced by the writings of Dan Sullivan, the founder of The Strategic Coach program, a process for helping entrepreneurs grow. His perspectives helped me manage my career and life. One of his core processes is called The Entrepreneurial Time System where time is divided into three types of days: “free days” (off-limits days to  rejuvenate), “buffer days” (preparation days), and “focus days” (performing days). 

Although I couldn’t organize my time in this way, I did benefit from the thinking behind it. In particular, Dan believes that you create breakthrough ideas during a series of consecutive “free days” where you completely remove yourself from work (including emails or reading business journals). Mark, my friend and fellow Sullivan fan, and I would ask each other about our breakthrough idea after each vacation. They were usually good ones.  

I thought of Dan this week when my family went skiing at Whistler. On day 3, my breakthrough idea came to me about half way up the mountain. I realized that my greatest achievements are ahead of me.This is true of most people but declaring it verbally and in writing creates the mindset necessary to make it real. Questions like “What are better achievements?” and “What would have to be true to achieve them?” have started forming the steps to reach them. My book is my next step.

As we left Whistler Village for the last time, a sign in front of the The North Face store captured the gist of my breakthrough: Never stop exploring (to become your best).

Phil

Back in the Saddle Again

Self Portrait

Recently, I took on a consulting assignment to co-design and facilitate a two-day team meeting. Why did I do it? First, I had worked with the leader before and knew it would be fun.  Second, it’s been a while since I worked on a change project and I didn’t want to become rusty. Third, based on an initial phone briefing I knew I could help.

Getting dressed for my first meeting I remembered that tying ties is not a strength. Wearing a suit, however, felt good. As I entered the office building I felt ‘corporate.’ As I waited in the lobby I mused that these spaces are the same around the world – the seating area layout,  employees briskly walking with purpose, a courier dropping off a package, and a receptionist directing a call – I could have been in any city.  In the meeting, I could feel energy. There was a puzzle that needed solving and we were gathering pieces to do so. As I drove home, my mind was full of questions, facts, and possibilities. I was alive.

There is a unique confidence felt when doing something you have done successfully many times before: you know the raw materials, you can sense what works and what doesn’t, and you don’t stop until you get it right. This is how I felt when I was working on the design. Facilitating was great, too. Interacting with a team reminded me how much people have to give. 

Setting Up

After the event I made the following notes:

– Everything effects mood, e.g., location, tone, pacing, language, etc.

– People can’t absorb all the information they are given (no matter how you give it to them)
– Individuals need to be understood and validated (including me)
– Energy is contagious

– A team with a common goal is extremely powerful
– Change work is exhausting 
– Helping people build a better future is the biggest thrill 

Now it’s back to editing my second draft and writing additional stories. I have missed my book over the past couple of days. Would I take on another assignment? Absolutely, if it had the same elements as this one. You always get more than you give.

Phil

Diegogarcity – I’ve got it and I want to keep it!

Have you ever been exposed to something new, say a word or a product, and then you see it everywhere? You buy a car and then see the same model on the road. “I didn’t know they were so popular,” you might say.

This is called ‘diegogarcity,’ which sounds more like a destination than an affliction. I have been experiencing diegogarcity since I started researching book proposal writing. Books are everywhere – no kidding – and the publishing industry is extremely prominent, too. It seems that every newspaper, magazine or T.V. news program is covering some aspect of this business. 

Diegogarcity isn’t always positive. The publishing industry is going through hyper-change and the printed book is being challenged by cheaper media alternatives, industry consolidation, and shrinking distribution channels. This wave of discouraging news can dampen spirits. It can also awaken the warrior within.

Knowledge is power and the more I learn about this fascinating industry, the better I am positioned to be a part of it. Perhaps I should start thinking more about victory.

Phil

What presence?

Every year during the holidays, a friend and I choose a destination to visit  in the summer. We’ve been to many cities in the US and Canada. Each one has its special attractions and memories. 

Ernest Hemingway’s study, Key West

This year we discussed going to Key West, Florida, the southernmost city in the continental United States. It would be great to visit Ernest Hemingway’s home to see where he wrote ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro.’ 

Why are we fascinated by environments that produce great things? Is it the belief that we, too, can get something positive from these spaces, that something magical will rub off on us? If so, is it the physical space or the spiritual presence that holds this magic? Could we get it by sitting in Hemingway’s writing chair or by closing our eyes and taking in the essence of his study?

Inspiration
Reading

I started thinking about how my environment has played a role in my writing.  What made it productive? What facilitated the connection between intention and output? Perhaps, like most things, it’s a collection of factors versus one ‘silver bullet.’ 

If you get inspiration by visiting famous places, that’s great. If you create your own productive space, that’s great, too. As long as an environment helps you get to where you want to go, you are in the right place. So far, it’s working for me.  Phil

Writing: 1. Source materials, calendar, to do list, and latest draft, 2. Where thoughts turn into words, 3. My plan – front and centre, 4. My printer that churns out numerous drafts, 5. Reference materials

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